BLACK CHURCH ART
In 2000, the church installed “MAAFA Remembrance,” a twenty-five-foot memorial window which has become the largest iconic display of the “Middle Passage” in the world. It pictures a n African representation of Christ whose torso contains the well-known “Brookes,” a schematic of a slave-ship first propagated in the late 18th century.
The window’s themes are Remembrance and Sacred Communion. It honors the memory of the enslaved Africans who did not survive the horrific voyage across the Atlantic, and charges the descendants of its survivors—and other viewers—to commit to “redeeming the MAAFA” and the world.
MAAFA Remembrance Window
North Star Window
The Northern Rose Window, commissioned in 1999 is deemed the “North Star - Great Migration Window.” It commemorates the journeys of African Americans in the “Great Migration” of the early to mid-20th century—escaping the terrors of the Jim Crow Era of racial oppression in the American South.
The church’s baby blessing with the North Star backdrop comes directly from the Alex Haley “Roots” televised series. It highlights the theme of divine deliverance and African Spiritual Traditions. The newborn child is lifted to the heavens and celebrated as living hope with the words “Behold, the only thing greater than yourself.” The window identifies the sanctuary as the sacred gathering place of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. The congregation was founded by southern migrants in 1950. Three of the longest-serving pastors are depicted in the bottom rose panels.
Sankofa Peace Window
In 2019, the church unveils its third stained glass window completing the trilogy of African-inspired spiritual art. The window is named, “Sankofa-Peace.” The term Sankofa is derived from the Twi dialect in West Africa, referring to the principle of gleaning the wisdom offered from the past, and utilizing it to imagine a better future.
The window aims to do just that. The depictions of the “Four Little Girls” who were killed in the 1963 Birmingham bombing, along with the likenesses of contemporary young martyrs of Chicago violence, encircle the window’s central figure depicting an African Jesus returning the children to a “Beloved Community.”
This vision and theme drives the community development goals of New Mount Pilgrim.